Italian developer Milestone pumps out solid bike racing sims at an alarming frequency, and their latest release, MotoGP 21, is yet another notch in their belt. With AI improvements, new gameplay features, an overhauled career mode, and more, MotoGP 21 is an impressive step forward for the series, and shortly before the game’s launch, we reached out to its developers to ask about all of these improvements and more. You can read our interview with producer Matteo Pezzotti below.
NOTE: This interview was conducted prior to the game’s launch.
"Our fans are addicted to simulation, and every year they ask us to expand the game making it more realistic. This time we worked on the bike retrieval mechanic because we wanted to add realism creating active gameplay in a phase of the game that’s usually not so interesting for the player."
What was behind the decision to add the bike retrieval mechanic to the game?
Our fans are addicted to simulation, and every year they ask us to expand the game making it more realistic. This time we worked on the bike retrieval mechanic because we wanted to add realism creating active gameplay in a phase of the game that’s usually not so interesting for the player.
The Managerial Career mode is an exciting step forward for the series. How much depth can players expect from its loop of hiring and managing staff in various different areas?
The biggest challenge for the players this year will be to manage their Junior Teams. They will be able to found new teams in the lower categories, hire riders & staff, manage them and lead the to the victory of the championship. We also revised the “Development Tests” to make them more realistic and functional, so there are plenty of activities to keep players engaged.
Milestone games have been making impressive use of neural AI for some time now, and MotoGP 21 is following suit. What improvements have you made in this area?
The main improvement is about pure performance. At the highest difficulty level A.N.N.A. is way faster than last year, especially in the top class.
Can you talk to us about Long Lap Penalties, and how their introduction is going to affect the general flow of races?
This is another feature we introduced to satisfy the needs of realism of our players. I think that’s very interesting also from the gameplay point of view, because getting an LLP is less frustrating than getting a simple time penalty and most important thing, it adds strategy to the race. It’s not just about serving the LLP in the fastest way, but need also to think which is the best moment of the race to serve it.
"The main improvement is about pure performance. At the highest difficulty level A.N.N.A. is way faster than last year, especially in the top class."
Brake temperature is another pretty important mechanic that MotoGP 21 is adding. How much of an impact is this going to have on the moment-to-moment play in your view?
For sure it’s something the players need to keep an eye on during the race. The most critical moments for the brakes are for sure he ones after the start, when the brakes are still cold. But the players will need also to keep in mind that riding to aggressively will overheat the brakes, making the bike lose braking power. From a certain point view, this should also help player to learn how to ride their bike better.
What sort of improvements can fans of the series expect as far as customization options are concerned?
This year we focused a lot on the customization inside the Managerial Career. We expanded the number of available liveries for the custom teams, and we also increased the number of available sponsors, to give a more attractive look to the custom bikes and suits. We also updated the list of available helmets, boots and gloves: every year we cooperate with the most famous brands to give to the player all the brand new accessories on the market.
MotoGP 21 is the first game in the series to be receiving a native launch on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. How does the game leverage their more powerful hardware, especially given the fact that it’s a cross-gen title?
The most important thing is that we are able to offer a stable 60 FPS experience on each of these consoles: for a simulative racing game this is very important. We also had the chance to experiment new features for the game, and enrich the circuits environment with animated vehicles and characters, that are not present in the old gen consoles. I’m sure that this it’s only the beginning and that we will able to reach even higher quality standards for the next projects.
The Xbox Series S features lesser hardware compared to Xbox Series X and Microsoft is pushing it as a 1440p/60fps console. Do you think it will be able to hold up for the graphically intensive next-gen games?
To be honest we were all surprised by the smoothness in the development on Xbox Series S. The console is indeed less powerful, but is was easy to manage through the downscale of the resolution. For sure this is something that we will evaluate again in the next projects, when will gradually take new advantages from all the power of these new consoles.
"To be honest we were all surprised by the smoothness in the development on Xbox Series S. The console is indeed less powerful, but is was easy to manage through the downscale of the resolution. For sure this is something that we will evaluate again in the next projects, when will gradually take new advantages from all the power of these new consoles."
What resolution and frame rate does the game target on PS5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S? Furthermore, will the game have multiple graphical modes?
The game targets 60 FPS on each of these consoles. On all these platforms the game targets 60 FPS, but while the first two versions support a dynamic 4K resolution, Xbox Series S is set on a 1440p dynamic resolution.